Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ford's New Batteries Reduce Rare Earth Mineral Use

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
DEARBORN, MI (PRNEWSWIRE) -- Ford Motor Company is replacing its nickel-metal-hydride batteries with lithium-ion batteries in its newest hybrid. The current nickel-metal-hydride batteries use the rare earth minerals: cerium, lanthanum, and praseodymium. The batteries' replacements result in Ford's decreased use of rare earth metals by up to 500,000 pounds annually. Dysprosium is Ford's most expensive rare earth mineral. It is currently used for magnets employed by the hybrid's electric mechanism. Dysprosium's use is reduced by approximately 50 percent in the new lithium-ion batteries.  The importance of rare earth mineral reduction is two-fold comprising both financial and physical advantages.  The 50 percent lighter batteries with a 25 to 30 percent size-reduction results in better fuel efficiency. Additionally, the cost will be reduced by 30 percent, making Ford's new C-MAX Hybrid more affordable for customers. Source: Ford's New Li-Ion Batteries Reduce Use of Rare Earth Metals, Enable Superior Fuel Economy for Fusion, C-MAX Hybrids (Reliability: High)

Comment: Ford has reached the point at which volumes increase and costs decrease enough to make this technology mass-market ready. This technology is debuting in the C-Max, the 2013 Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ hybrids. 

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